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Cartoonist Mark Knight gives Perth Grand Final a blockbuster feel

Mark Knight, September 16, 2021 6:15PM Kids News

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Cartoonist Mark Knight thinks the Mad Max: Fury Road movie makes a great metaphor for the Melbourne versus Western Bulldogs Grand Final in Perth. media_cameraCartoonist Mark Knight thinks the Mad Max: Fury Road movie makes a great metaphor for the Melbourne versus Western Bulldogs Grand Final in Perth.


Reading level: green

As we approach football finals season I am starting to find myself sketching more and more footy players. And what a rich source of material they are, in particular the AFL mob.

This year’s AFL Grand Final is being played in Perth for the first time due to the Covid-19 lockdown in Melbourne.

We will see the Melbourne Demons, who haven’t won a flag for 57 years, up against the Western Bulldogs, the working class club from Melbourne’s west.

The Demons, or “Dees” as they are known, are led by their towering captain, Max Gawn, who put in a remarkable performance to get his side into the Grand Final.

The “Doggies”, aka the Western Bulldogs, also put in a great performance, defeating the much favoured Port Adelaide side to progress to the big dance*.

As a matter of tradition, when the two teams qualify for the Grand Final, I draw a cartoon about it for the paper.

So where do I start with this one? Firstly, I would be taking in those points I just mentioned, like Max Gawn. He is interesting to draw with his shaved head and huge Ned Kelly like beard.

AFL 2021 First Preliminary Final - Melbourne v Geelong media_cameraMark Knight loves to draw Melbourne captain Max Gawn with his bald head and beard. Picture: AFL Photos

Then there is the joke made about Melbourne supporters that they are all Range Rover drivers from Melbourne’s posh eastern suburbs!

Add to that the fact they are up against a club from the industrial side of Melbourne and finally, there is the small fact that the game is being played in Perth, which is a very long drive from Melbourne through the desert across the far stretches of the Nullarbor Plain!

In my cartoons I like to employ visual metaphors* to help convey complex ideas and concepts that people might not usually understand. I like to draw upon these metaphors from our popular culture, like well known movies, TV shows and books. For example, drawing former US President Donald Trump as Darth Vader in a Star Wars type scene to describe a political situation.

Mark Knight cartoon on Trump being impeached on day final Star Wars movie opened media_cameraMark Knight likes to draw on metaphors from movies to use in his cartoons, like this one about former US President Donald Trump.

So when I was thinking about a cartoon about this year’s AFL Grand Final teams, I poured all those ingredients into my brain and pressed the blend button on my imagination and presto, an idea appeared!

What came out was a concept using the Australian movie Mad Max as a metaphor for the big game.

I saw Max Gawn as Mad Max, racing across the Nullarbor in an outrageously exaggerated Range Rover like in a scene from the movie.

By his side is a snarling Bulldog at the wheel of a similarly over-the-top truck in Bulldogs club colours.

Paying close attention to small details from the movie, I added in the skulls of the teams the Doggies defeated in the finals on the truck’s bullbar, a Melbourne flag flies from the Range Rover, and there is a huge plume of orange dust as they race down a long stretch of highway on the way to the Perth stadium.

Namibia media_cameraA scene from the movie Mad Max: Fury Road.

Last of all I drew the movie title: “MAD MAX: PREMIERSHIP ROAD”, which is a play on the actual move title, Mad Max: Fury Road.

The cartoon paints a picture that looks like a life and death situation, which it probably feels like if you are a Dees or a Doggies supporter. We take our sport seriously in Australia!


  • aka: stands for ‘also known as’
  • big dance: nickname given to the Grand Final
  • metaphors: an imaginative way of describing something by referring to something else which is similar in some way


Travelling in style all the way to Perth

Dees win, the sixth reason to leave home

AFL Grand Final is heading west


  1. Why does Mark Knight find Max Gawn interesting to draw?
  2. Why does Mark like to use visual metaphors?
  3. Where does he like to get his metaphors from?
  4. What is the actual name of the movie Mark has used as his metaphor in the cartoon?
  5. Why does Mark make his cartoon look like a life and death situation?


1. What happens next?
Imagine this cartoon is part of a story that is made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark’s cartoon is the start of the story.

Think about what the story could be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Being able to draw is only one of the skills needed to be a great cartoonist. Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark need to do their job.

Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them to do a great job.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Media Arts, Visual Communication Design

Stretch your sentence
Find a “who” in the cartoon – a person or an animal. Write it down.

Add three adjectives to describe them better.

Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?

Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.

Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.

Extra Reading in sport